Quantcast
Connect with us

ABC News had the goods on Jeffrey Epstein years ago — and killed the story

Published

on

Multimillionaire predator Jeffrey Epstein died in suspicious circumstances at a Manhattan correctional facility on Aug. 10. The wealthy and powerful New York financier, a convicted sex offender, stands accused by dozens of women and girls of trafficking, rape and sexual abuse. He was an enormously influential and well-connected man who counted as friends billionaire business ownersHollywood starsBritish royals, and even top media figures like Katie Couric and Charlie Rose — with some of his associates falling under suspicion of condoning or even participating in a pedophile ring.

ADVERTISEMENT

This article appeared in Salon

“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,” said fellow tycoon Donald Trump in 2002, adding: “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” Former President Bill Clinton was also close with Epstein.

Epstein’s crimes shocked the public, and his arrest, trial and mysterious death were major stories for much of 2019. But last month, leaked footage emerged showing that corporate media knew much about these crimes years previously. Discussing one of his accusers, ABC News anchor Amy Robach was caught on camera lambasting executives at her network for killing her investigations into the sex offender because of Epstein’s connections. The clip was originally leaked to infamous right-wing troll James O’Keefe, who has a long history of producing bogus stories (FAIR.org, 4/1/103/14/1112/12/1510/21/16), but ABC employees, including Robach herself, have confirmed its authenticity. In the video, Robach complains:

Amy Robach

Amy Robach: “I’ve had the [Epstein] story for three years.”

ADVERTISEMENT

I’ve had the story for three years. I’ve had this interview with [Epstein complainant] Virginia Roberts. We would not put it on the air. First of all I was told, “Who is Jeffrey Epstein? No one knows who that is. This is a stupid story.” Then the palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew, and threatened us in a million different ways. We were so afraid we wouldn’t be able to interview Kate and Will that it also quashed the story. And then Alan Dershowitz was also implicated in it because of the planes.

“The planes” is a reference to the celebrity attorney’s frequent trips on Epstein’s infamous private jet, which he used for trafficking. A visibly exasperated Robach continued, revealing the level of detail of her investigation:

She told me everything, she had pictures, everything. She was in hiding for 12 years. We convinced her to come out. We convinced her to talk to us. It was unbelievable what we had; Clinton, we had everything. I tried for three years to get it on to no avail, and now it’s all coming out and it’s like these new revelations, and I freaking had all of it! … What we had was unreal.

ADVERTISEMENT

Robach’s comments about being pressured into killing the story by powerful people ABC relied upon are a perfect example of the perils of access journalism. In their influential book “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media,” Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky identified “sourcing” and “flak” as two of the five key filters that dictate what makes the news and what does not.

By sourcing, Herman and Chomsky are referring to corporate media’s reliance on powerful official sources (like politicians, celebrities and corporations) to essentially subsidize them by providing them with free content, such as interviews, soundbites, statistics and pictures. Journalists are therefore caught up in a symbiotic relationship with the powerful, where elite sources grant “scoops” in exchange for preferential treatment. The royal family, Robach claims, successfully used the influence it had, quashing the story by threatening to cut off access.

ADVERTISEMENT

It is also particularly easy for the powerful to generate flak — negative responses to media content. Flak can take the form of boycotts, angry phone calls, lawsuits, smear campaigns and more. One particularly alarming form of “flak” was the 2018 U.S. mail bombing attempt, where a Trump supporter sent a bomb to CNN headquarters in response to its negative coverage of the president.

Robach brought up Dershowitz, a famously litigious lawyer, as a reason for her silencing. But ABC could reasonably expect great resistance from many of those connected to Epstein, one more example of how stories scrutinizing the powerful are discouraged in the modern media landscape.

ABC News would later claim that it had never nixed the story, stating that at the time of Robach’s comments,

ADVERTISEMENT

not all of our reporting met our standards to air, but we have never stopped investigating the story.  Ever since we’ve had a team on this investigation and substantial resources dedicated to it. That work has led to a two-hour documentary and six-part podcast that will air in the new year.

Ashley Bianco

Former producer Ashley Bianco (MK, 11/8/19), who denies sharing the Robach tape with anyone outside ABC News.

After the video went viral, CBS News fired producer Ashley Bianco after ABC contacted them, asserting (possibly incorrectly) that she had leaked the tape during her time working on Robach’s show. Top executives at ABC are reportedly “freaking out” over the anonymous employee’s identity, spending far more energy and resources trying to find the leaker than in investigating why it enabled a serial sexual predator to continue offending.

ADVERTISEMENT

Perhaps even more worryingly, corporate media rivals have largely not touched the story. Neither Robach’s revelation nor Bianco’s termination have been reported on by MSNBCCNNCBS or the New York Times, nearly a month after the video first leaked. Thus the story of a major media outlet covering up the crimes of a monster, with the only person to face any sanction being the alleged whistleblower,  whom two outlets combined to punish, appears not to qualify as a newsworthy event to much of the press.

Indeed, Epstein’s team managed to convince many supposedly reputable outlets, including the Huffington Post (11/17/17), Forbes (10/2/13) and the National Review (7/10/13) to publish puff pieces about him (New York Times, 7/21/19). (Epstein pled guilty to charges connected to sexual abuse of minors in 2008.) Forbes  described him as “one of the largest backers of cutting-edge science around the world,” making no mention of his criminal past. The stated writer was paid $600 by a PR firm to attach his name to the pre-fab article and run it on the site, perhaps the most blatantly unethical sponsorship practice there could be.

ABC’s decision to spike the Epstein exposé in order not to embarrass or implicate his powerful associates, thereby effectively enabling his crimes, is a perfect example of the danger of access journalism. Robach predicted, “There will come a day where we will realize Jeffrey Epstein was the most prolific pedophile this country has ever known.” Thanks to our corporate media system, that day was delayed by at least three years.

This article originally appeared at FAIR.org. Used by permission.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Republicans are losing — even if Trump will be acquitted: Columnist Max Boot

Published

on

Conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot walked through the ways that Republicans are completely failing in their attempt to defend President Donald Trump.

The president's trial began Tuesday with a series of votes where Republicans blocked a vote on whether to include witnesses, evidence and any information from the House investigations. It appeared that the president's team was unprepared to argue against the witnesses and evidence, instead, demanding the trial begin immediately and arguments over witnesses be dismissed.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

#AdamSchiffROCKS trends nationwide as House manager begins the prosecution of Donald Trump

Published

on

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee spent two hours and twenty minutes on his opening arguments in the prosecution of President Donald Trump.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), in his role as lead impeachment manager, laid out the case of why the House of Representatives concluded that Trump should be removed from office following his Senate impeachment trial.

Schiff, who has a reputation as a somewhat-boring former prosecutor, impressed people watching the hearings to the point where "Adam Schiff Rocks" trended nationwide on Twitter.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Ivanka Trump was involved in inauguration’s inflated payments to family business — and so was the president: lawsuit

Published

on

Then-President-elect Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka were warned in 2016 that the family business was overcharging the nonprofit presidential inaugural committee — and let it happen anyway, according to a suit filed Wednesday by the Washington, D.C., attorney general.

In the civil complaint, Attorney General Karl Racine charged the Trump inaugural committee and the Trump Organization with using around $1 million of charitable funds to improperly enrich the Trump family.

An experienced event planner who was working for the inaugural, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, raised concerns directly with Donald and Ivanka Trump that the Trump International Hotel in Washington was trying to overcharge the inaugural committee.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image